Ride the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure in Cool Comfort!

July 1, 2016 in Editorials

Summer has made a hot welcoming, and for those of us who just want to enjoy some fun in air-conditioned surroundings, the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure offers the perfect solution. The Hiwassee River Rail Adventure is a wonderful train ride that departs from the L & N Depot and shuttle boarding area in Etowah, Tenn., and delivers you to the boarding area for your adventure on the trains provided by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Once boarded, the train makes its way along the fields, woods, and paths in Polk County, Tenn., in the unspoiled Cherokee National Forest; then follows the flow of the Hiwassee River until it begins its breath-taking climb, overlooking the low hills and mountain gorge. Your rail adventure will continue wrapping around the Historic Hiwassee Loop and traveling across the “Old Line”; (a railroad line that was hand built into the mountains and gorge in 1890). It’s climb will take you over a bridge 62-feet-high, in spiraling formation above the tracks you’ve just crossed.

The Hiwassee Gorge and Old Line is registered on the National Register of Historic Places and has received the USDA National Forest’s highest ranking for its scenic beauty which can only be reached by rail.

Durning the summer, while riding the rail adventure, you’ll be welcomed by visitors waving to you as they’re rafting, canoeing, and riding kayaks and tubes as they float and ride the rapids of the beautiful Hiwassee River. Every season displays a different but spectacular view. Spring is filled with dogwoods and wildflowers blooming, as well as often scenes of young deer and black bear and other wild animals enjoying the birth of spring on the mountains and in the gorge.

The summer is filled with change of color of wild flowering trees and flowers, lush green valleys and all the excitement of fishing, hiking, and love of the river rides. Riding the rail into the mountains has a hush and peacefulness that seems to leave that busy world behind, and gives you amazing breathtaking views like no other.

Each who ride the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure in the spring and summer can only imagine what fall will bring. It’s worth booking another trip just to ride the fall excursion. God’s majestic paint brush will enlighten you with colors of orange, reds, purples, and yellows that are unlike any you’ve seen before. There’s 50 miles of brilliancy that is a photographers dream trip! No matter how many times you enjoy this adventure, you’ll have a renewed sense of love for the Hiwassee River and mountain gorge to and from the Historic Loop.

You have an option to book day trips for either the 3 1/2 hour trips to and from the Historic Loop or the full day trip into Copper Hill, Tenn. On the full day trip, you can de-board the train and stroll along the sidewalks of Copper Hill and shop the variety of antique and gift shops and dine before your departure to return through the beautiful mountain gorge and along the Hiwassee River to where your trip began in Etowah.

If you’ve never taken this historic rail ride, it’s time to call and make your reservations today. You’ll ride in the comfort of the cozy passenger cars provided by the Historic Tennessee Valley Railroad, all with air conditioned cars, and some with upper decks that give you an even more exciting view, and all offer snacks and tour information. For information or ticket reservations, go to www.TVRail.com or call 423-894-8028 and enjoy this beautiful adventure outdoors in cool comfort.

By Maxine B Jones, Ocoee, Tennessee

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